Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Best Thing I Ate Today: Tender Greens

After a three month absence from the gym thanks to a nasty bout of tonsillitis, I finally made my triumphant return today. At least, I thought it would be triumphant, until I almost fainted during boxing class and could barely do 15 curtsy lunges without feeling like my legs were going to fall off.

Quads quivering, stairs my new nemesis, all was made right by seeing Jesse, one of my true blue homies, and Zach--ahhh, Zach. We like to call Zach "Bag of Snakes" in homage to the rippling muscles of his back which look like a bag of angry snakes when he starts throwing hooks and upper cuts. Add that to his azure eyes and a jaw so square, it belongs on a drafting table, and what you get is one magically delicious man. Unfortunately, he isn't the best thing I ate today.

After he gave Zach a good stretching (what, me jealous?), Jesse and I bid him and his Bag of Snakes farewell and set off for the new Hollywood outpost of Tender Greens, a restaurant committed to sustainability and local produce, which serves massive plates of some of the best, freshest salads I've ever eaten. A frequent visitor to the West Hollywood branch, I've been yearning to try their new digs at Sunset and Vine. How can you not love a chain restaurant that specializes in salad?

We decided to go halfsies on the steak salad, but with seared albacore substituted for steak, and a plate of their new offering, "Sexy Things," a quartet of composed salads surrounding a lemon dressed bounty of organic mixed greens.

The Albacore Steak Salad...
Seared albacore, butter lettuce, radishes, golden and red beets, and chives in a garlic-laced, horseradish vinaigrette, that's the perfect balance of tangy, buttery, fresh and earthy.

Our Sexy Things...

While the sunflower and strawberry offering (lower right) left both Jesse and I cold, I rarely enjoy fruit mixed into a savory dish unless there's an aged cheese involved, and even then I'm quite particular, the bright, lemon and mint flavor of the mung bean salad (upper right) was ravishing, golden lentils and sweet potatoes (upper left) were deliciously dense and oniony, and the cannellini bean and black kale salad (lower left) had a wonderful balance that was both reassuringly buttery yet quietly bitter.

They might not have been as sexy as Zach, but they were delicious, nonetheless.

I have a feeling the best thing I'm going to eat tomorrow will be the banana that eases my already aching muscles. Someone pass me the Epsom Salts.

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